Ibex Addict

Ibex, UT
Ibex, UT

“In our ever more crowded world, what the pioneers once despised has turned out to be, by virtue of the very fact that it was shunned and therefore lightly settled, our last refuge for quiet and contemplation.  So it is that deserts are refuges not by choice but by default, as if driven out of cathedrals we were forced to hold services on beds of nails.  But on the positive side, what are cathedrals anyway but monuments to the old comfortable cliches, the old, often unworkable ways? If “the Desert is where God is and Man is not,” as Balzac tells us, what better place to find, if not God, then ourselves? And if finding ourselves in scarcity rather than in plenty, what better place to learn to get along with others in a resource-poor but humanly rich world?”  Peter Wild: The New Desert Reader

High on The White Arete
High on The White Arete
GDub on The White Arete
GDub on The White Arete

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the help of Matthew Irving and a really nice camera, we captured some slow motion shenanigans and a wee bit of climbing. How much slow motion, well, some might say my overuse of it in this video is Juvenile. So enjoy a video (all beautiful shots by Matt Irving, all crappy quality-poorly framed shots by this guy) of idiots and stellar lines in Ibex. Climbs include Wing Chun V12, The Bone Collector V11 and Bruce Lee V10.  Shenanigans include tokyo drifting, slingshot-run-n-jump dyno, gap jumping and apple eating.

Both Griffin Whiteside and Joe Meiners were able to nab ascents of Wing Chun as well!  Good work boys.

Disclaimer #1: I blew my back out shooting this video and now sound like I have Tourette’s Syndrome while attempting simple tasks of life, like say, getting out of bed, up out of a chair, off a toilet and sometimes just breathing.  So, go ahead and try this at home kids… live it up you resilient little bastards.  30+ year old males needing to relive their youth and compensate for their underachieving lives, don’t do it… it’s not worth it anymore. Haha, just kidding, it’s always worth it! Now if I could just turn my back to reach over and get some toilet paper off the roll. Yeah, so what if I’m writing this while pooping, I’ve been stuck on this toilet for 2 hours now… figured I’d do something productive. Don’t judge, who are you anyway, Judge Reinhold?

  • Franklin: My name is Judge.

    Franklin on Mock Trial with J. Reinhold
    Franklin on Mock Trial with J. Reinhold
  • Gob: Whose name is Judge?
  • Franklin: My name is.
  • Gob: That’s a silly name.
  • Franklin: Judge, my name.
  • Gob: Yes, I am judging your name. It am silly.
  • Franklin: Is.
  • Gob: Oh, now, you’re correcting my grammar.

Disclaimer #2: This video was edited by me, I don’t possibly want anyone thinking that Matt’s talents were wasted here.

New Damn Boulders

Trail to the Damn Boulders
Trail to the Damn Boulders

The spring season is winding down here in Utah, hinting at the hot summer to come, but yet again Joe’s Valley has provided new boulders. . . hell, a new area in fact.  We have dubbed this new area in left fork The Damn Boulders due to the fact that it has an irrigation dam crossing for access to the opposite side of the river.  The interactive map at the top of this site is marked with parking for access to the area, although parking on the road may be the better idea as this is also a single campsite. In Joe’s Valley boulders hide in plain site, blending into the crowd.  Park along the side of the road, stare at the 100’s of boulders on the hillside, and you’ll discover finding a great boulder problem is like playing Where’s Waldo.  The thing about Joe’s is that almost all the boulders have been looked at by a dozen people over the last decade and a half, and hell, some of the new problems have surely been climbed before. . . this just happens. . . but the difficulty of developing boulder problems in Joe’s is not in finding boulders but stopping to climb them instead of searching for more.  I mean what if, just over there, and over there, and across the canyon, and look at that hillside, holy shit do you see that giant boulder, oh man, that one boulder has to have a 4 star line on it. . . lets go check it out.  Wait, what was I saying, oh yeah, the problem I’ve encountered while developing in Joe’s Valley is that I have boulder A.D.D. . . always wanting to check for the next best thing.  Our whole game plan these last few seasons has been to just stop and climb what we find.

The Damn Boulders
The Damn Boulders

The Damn Boulders were introduced to us last fall by Anthony Chertudi.  Anthony had a super project high on the hillside that he graciously wanted to show stong man boy Griffin Whiteside.  Anthony’s The Last Great One Project was a real beauty.  Steep, powerful enduro climbing out a long horizontal roof that climbs some of the best gym sandstone holds around.  Perfect rock has been left behind by years of melting water.  I watched the snow melt while G Biebs, Joe Meiners and Pete Lowe worked the project early on and as the water trickled down the rock it only touched the good black rock, leaving the white rock completely dry.  A few sessions later, in a snow storm I watched Griffyndor nearly slip from the wet lip of the boulder but somehow hold on to establish The Last Great One V13, keeping the project name in respect to Anthony, his vision, and all the work he and his wife did to build an amazing landing.  Great job on this one Griffin.  Paul Robinson got the second ascent a few weeks ago.  See video at bottom for footage of send.

Griffin on The Last Great One V13
Griffin on The Last Great One V13
A giant Bieber sticks the last move on the Last Great One.
Bieber sighting! Sticking the last move on the Last Great One.

Last fall, when we first walked up to look at The Last Great One Project, I found a line of my own on a nearby boulder.  I immediately started cleaning holds and went at fixing the landing a bit.  I’ve found and established lines in Joe’s but nothing that has ever taken root in me.  This time I was hooked, unable to sleep for days, finally driving down in a snow storm to rap and clean the problem as snow flurried around.  Somewhere along the way the problem began to personify my efforts, or thats the way it seemed to feel . . . in reality it was just a rock.  Griffin and Joe recognized my renewed motivation and passion, leaving the first ascent for my taking.

Lonesome Animals Boulder
Lonesome Animals Boulder

I will be 32 in a week so maybe they were just respecting their elder, but I truly appreciate it.   It is very difficult to get any first ascents climbing with those young bastards.  The experience grew even more personal thereafter, as I spent 4 sessions alone on that hillside unlocking a perception of movement that I was confined to move within.  When I finally escaped to the top of the boulder and stood alone with the FA behind and below me I was content. . . as always, the joy was fleeting. Happiness came from the process and experience and my excitement grew again only with the idea of sharing what I believe to be one of the best lines in Joe’s Valley. Video of problem at bottom of post.

Lonesome Animals
Lonesome Animals

Close friend and childhood mentor, author Bruce Holbert, recently wrote a book titled Lonesome Animals (I’d reckon you ought to check it out, especially if you enjoy the styles of Cormac McCarthy, Check it out here: Amazon).  It is prefaced with the following John Steinbeck quote:

Quality Alone Time
Quality Alone Time at Lonesome Animals

We are lonesome animals. We spend all our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say — and to feel — ”Yes, that’s the way it is, or at least that’s the way I feel it. You’re not as alone as you thought.”

As is typical with my light hearted personality, I had 3 or 4 funny(to me, stupid to you) names to choose from for naming the problem, but as I sat below the problem for one last time, the Steinbeck quote felt real and befitting.  The story was complete but I was alone. . . all that was left was to share it.

Scott Hall on Lonesome Animals
Scott Hall on Lonesome Animals V12

After establishing The Last Great One and Lonesome Animals we went to work filling in the gaps and to our surprise, hiding in those gaps were amazing problems of all grades and styles.

The Guppy V7
The Guppy V7

As you walk up the hillside the first boulder you will come to is The Guppy Boulder.  Here is a great little boulder with an obvious jug start and an anything you can do to get to the top V7 of the same name.  Griffin did this first on our way out one day but this is one of those problems that certainly could have been climbed back in the day.

Wax and Wane V4 Start Holds
Wax and Wane V4 Start Holds

The next boulder you will come to, after a steep hill climb, is the Nerf Wall (aka moon wall).  This boulder is tall and uniquely riddled with nerf ball impressions that give it a moonlike texture.

 

 

Max Paget climbs Wax or Wane V4
Max Paget climbs Wax or Wane V4

 

 

 

As of writing this there are 5 lines on the Nerf Wall.  I will list them from left to right. On the far left is a sit start problem that climbs up and right to a femur bone jug then to top.  This is Nerf or Nothing (V4).  Wax or Wane (V4) starts sitting on a little boulder with a Euro start of any holds you can reach.  Just to the right of this at standing height is Dark Side of the Moon (V5) (probable FA by Chad Parkinson a few years ago).  This is an amazing problem and possibly the best of the grade in Joe’s Valley.  Perfect holds lead to a sequential committing crux 3/4 the way up the wall.  Thankfully, this problem also has the easiest mantle of them all.

Start holds of Dark Side of the Moon V5 and First Impressions V7
Start holds of Dark Side of the Moon V5 and First Impressions V7

 

 

 

To the right of Dark Side of the Moon is the start of First Impressions (V7).  After Kyle O’meara’s appetizer send of Dark Side of the Moon he had to have more of this wall, and who could blame him. . . and so, he added the beautiful First Impressions up the center of the wall that eventually shares the same top out as Dark Side of the Moon.

Chad Parkinson falls from Kyle O'meara's First Impressions.
Chad Parkinson falls from Kyle O’meara’s First Impressions.
Chad Parkinson says "first impress that" . . .
Chad Parkinson says “first impressions that” . . .

There is also a travers that starts on the far left line Nerf or Nothing and links into Dark Side of the Moon called Ballogy (V7) (O’Meara FA).  This problem is a great excuse to use more of the best hold set in Joe’s Valley.

Point Break V8 - Johnny Utah and Bodhi Approve
Point Break V8 – Johnny Utah and Bodhi Approve

Point Break (V8) sits right next to the Nerf Wall and is a techy slab climb to a dyno? or big static reach? FA Griffin Whiteside, 2nd Paul Robinson.  Very cool climb.  Utah! Get me two!!!!

MPBDirectly above Point Break is a smaller boulder with a sit start V7 called Male Pattern Baldness (V7) (FA Chad Parkinson).  Looks like crap, climbs surprisingly well. . . wait, am I talking about me and my hairline or the boulder problem. . . you can decide.

Chad Parkinson on Pommel Horse V4
Chad Parkinson on Pommel Horse V4

Continue up and to the right of MPB boulder to find the Wrecking Ball Dyno (V8) and Pommel Horse (V4) (FA Steven Jeffery).  Wow, these are two amazing boulder problems.  Pommel Horse is quite possibly my favorite V4 in J’s Valley.

 

CP30 on the airy top out of Pommel Horse
CP30 on the airy top out of Pommel Horse
Holding the swing with the death scream.
Wrecking Ball Dyno: Holding the swing with the death scream.

The best dyno in Joe’s Valley was found as a joke, by me.  Disclaimer: I dont dyno, in fact, I’ve never done a two hand dyno in my life, no kidding, my nickname has always been Fat Kid Dynos b/c I look like you’d imagine Chunk from the goonies would look if he tried to dyno.  Anyway, I jokingly showed this to Chad, Griffin, Joe, Kyle and Steven Jeffrey. . . b/c there was a jug and then nothing but the top of the boulder arching behind you.  It seemed improbable to them and impossible to me. . . but the team got to work on a landing and two hours later we were literally throwing ourselves at the finish hold.  The video below shows it best, this dyno is about absolute commitment or you could be a wrecking ball.

Adam Healy gets redemption after ripping the original finish jug off.
Adam Healy gets redemption after ripping the original finish jug off and impaling his head with it.

Last fall, when we first checked the Damn Boulders out, I put up a line adjacent the hillside from the Nerf Wall and just down canyon.  See map at top.  This line is Pleasant Valley V7(retro upgrade) and climbs a short powerful roof.  Video and information on this climb can be found in an early post I wrote:  http://climbingcollective.com/2012/12/31/tall/

Bareskin V10 and The Happy Spaniel V6 Starts
Bareskin V10 and The Happy Spaniel V6 Starts

Griffin completed another old project in the area.  Just up canyon from the Lonesome Animals boulder was the Two Move Project which is now Bareskin (V10).  This sombitch is tough and a classic example of how strong stupid Griffin is, in fact, he originally called it V9 but I think that’s because he can’t count.  Someone that pretty can’t be good with numbers can they? What, he is an accounting major!? Balls, nevermind.  You’ve all been sandbagged.  Enjoy.  To the right of BareSkin is another Kyle O’meara FA called The Happy Spaniel (V6).  This is beauty of a line and a nice conciliation prize after getting your dick punched on BareSkin.

Kyle O'Meara getting ready to pull onto his FA The Happy Spaniel
Kyle O’Meara feeling the grips of BareSkin

 

Portia Menlove can feel it on Thintensity
Portia Menlove gets a grip on Thintensity

Lets see whats a good segue away from BareSkin.  That’s a hard one.  How about on to the The Trojan Boulder.  Griffin cleaned a few really fun lines on a boulder named after condoms.  Grow up Griffin, oh wait, you are actually growing up right now. Nevermind.  The Trojan Boulder has 3 good sandstone climbs that think they are granite climbs.  All problems start on the same low jug in the middle of the wall.  For Her Pleasure (V5) climbs right on cool slopers and pinches. . . and that’s just the tip, same start and stright up is Thintensity (V5).    The most difficult problem to climax on is Ultra Ribbed (V10), same start then left to the arete and up through some crazy climbing.  FU Griffin, I don’t think I could ever do this one. . . you might be young, smart, strong, and good looking but are you old, balding and washed up?  That’s right, I didn’t think so.  I win.

Just the tip of the Trojan Boulder.
Just the tip of the Trojan Boulder.
Portia readys herself for the mount as she reaches for the saddle horn.
Portia readys herself for the mount as she reaches for the saddle horn.

 

 

 

 

Portia Menlove added a fun little problem that begs to be climbed simply because of how cool it looks. Rodeo Queen V2

 

Rodeo Queen V2
Rodeo Queen V2

Well that’s about it for now. Although, there are still projects to be had up there.  Just around the corner from Lonesome Animals is an obvious project that starts on a jug.  There is also a short black wall straight uphill from Pleasant Valley that I already cleaned for you with a possible hard line on the left side.  This area stays cool on hot days and provides enough problems for a days worth of fun.  I’m headed to Leavenworth for a few weeks but will be back to play here for the rest of May.

Thanks to all those that have helped contribute to this area: matt pincus, steven jeffery, kyle o’meara, joe meiners, chad parkinson, adriana chimaras, serkan ercan, diana jenson, hayden jamieson, anthony chertudi, portia menlove and many more.

I will also be adding a WikiBoulder guide today that can be accessed at the link at the bottom of the post.

 

LonesomeAnimalGreatOne2nd from Climbing Collective on Vimeo.

 

Hueco: A Quick Trip

Quick trips to a bouldering destination sure are funny, not funny like cat videos but funny like “that smells funny” . . . cause it’s not that funny.  It stinks like shit from the get go.  Knowing 14 hours to Hueco Tanks is a hell of a drive for 3 days of bouldering we do it anyway, convincing ourselves it is worth it and feeling holier than thou dedication as we sip our 8th coffee during hour 10 of the drive.  I once worked 9pm to 9am, drove the 14 hours straight to Hueco without sleep and realized I needed 2 rest days(out of a 6 day trip) to recover from getting there.  But I am more dedicated than you so that’s cool.

Psyched!!
This little genius is saving mouth energy with a half smile in anticipation of the hours of deliciousness that are to ensue.  

Three days of bouldering in Hueco is great, and, don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful but it’s like craving a footlong hotdog and getting a lil’ smokie.  It’s still delicious but you would prefer more girth and 11 more inches.  Wait, what?

Where was I, oh yeah, like eating a lil’ smokie there are no regrets, only an insatiable desire for more.  More, more, more.  More time, more chances to send.  If only, if only.  I totally would have sent that if I had more time.

 

Someday I hope to spend a few weeks to a month in Hueco. . . but I doubt that will happen.  So, I’ll continue quick trips every winter and continue to slowly tick off my life list 1 or 2 problems at a time.

Waiting to get on North Mtn can suck but sometimes the down time is productive.  The following video shows amazing Beta for El Techo de los Tres that I got from Mike Personick while waiting to get on North Mountain one day.  Thanks Mike!

El Techo de los tres B, V11 Hueco Tanks from Scott Hall on Vimeo.

I traveled with Portia Menlove and Serkan “Seko” Ercan.  Seko is a talented climber and a recent tansplant to SLC from Turkey.  A great guy and a better climber/setter, Seko was full of positive energy and stoked at the idea of climbing problems he has dreamt about since his youth.  Below is a video of the Turkish Tickler quickly crushing Loaded Direct.

Serkan Ercan, Loaded Direct. Hueco Tanks from Scott Hall on Vimeo.

The gallery below highlights our trip, while browsing through the pics just imagine Green Day’s Time of Your Life playing like it is a high school graduation slide show. One other note, new Collective contributor Nik Berry crushed Diaphanous Sea.  As a very accomplished trad climber it was impressive to see him put his energy into such a powerful boulder problem and realize his potential.  See what a try hard (not to shit your pants) face looks like in the photos of him, take notes, apply through practice then crush boulders while not shitting.

Southwest Videos

Joe Meiners and Griffin Whiteside put together a great video of some of the bouldering around St. George, UT including the often shown Moe’s Valley but also a newer area that Isaac Caldiero has been developing called Dalton Wash near the town of Virgin, Utah.

Southern Utah from Joe Meiners on Vimeo.

Check this link for a map of where to turn on Dalton Wash road from Highway 9 just East of Virgin Utah between St. George and Zion National Park.  Follow the road and stay left at the Y.  The boulders will eventually appear next to the road.

Great work to Joe Meiners for climbing Crusader for Justice V13 in Moe’s Valley.  This was Joe’s first V13 but I expect many more to come from this strong weaselly som’bitch. The first move on this problem is vicious and Joe repeatedly crushes it. . . even after he broke the good half of it clean off.

And, great work climbing Booka Booka Booka V13 (also in Moe’s Valley) Griffin.  In the spirit of the southwest, I put together this video of Griffin climbing the V13.  Be sure to watch G Bieb’s sweet dance at the end. I can’t tell if this video showcases Griff’s unbelievable bouldering potential or his amazing future as a male stripper. . . I mean, he already has a stripper name. . . Wolfstain.

 

Booka Booka Booka V13: Griffin Whiteside from Climbing Collective on Vimeo.

#Tall

The hits just keep coming from G Biebs, aka Griffin Whiteside, aka the Wolfstain.

#Tall is Griffin’s latest addition and quite possibly the tallest problem in Joe’s Valley.  This problem can be found in Left Fork, across the river and down-canyon a bit from A Wrinkle in Time. . . Or, if better suites your reference, across canyon from the Shipwreck boulder which is home to Prince of Thieves. . . or, up-canyon from Halloween Town past Superman about 200 yards.   It’s not hard to find. . . park on the left (if heading up-canyon) next to A Wrinkle in Time, look across canyon pick the biggest boulder on the hillside, confirm that it is shaped like a triangle and check to see if your palms are sweating. . . yep, that is it.

If highballs aren’t your thing, cough-coughmecough-cough, then check-out the nearby lowball POWERMEAT!!!!!  Yes, it is spelled in all caps with 5 exclamation points and is ungraded.  You can thank first ascensionist Matthew Irving.   Laying near #Tall, it compliments the seriousness of highballing with the absurdness of lowballing (aka bouldering).  However, there are rules to POWERMEAT!!!!!

1.) No Climbing Shoes

2.) No Crashpad

3.) No Pussies

Matthew Irving's Elbow
Matt’s Elbow from Failing to have enough Power in his Meat.

POWERMEAT!!!!! is a game of one-upping your friends.  We actually spent an hour at this 4 foot boulder making up variations.  I put a lay-down start to Matt’s other 2 starts.  We tried to impress with one arm dangles, lock-offs, look-backs and even two arm dangles by squeezing the start with our thighs and meat(hence the name).  Our session reminded me why bouldering is fun.  It’s a game. . . and in games you want to beat your friends. . . you want everyone in the group laughing. . . at the one person who isn’t.  We left with bruised asses, busted elbows(see pic to right) and huge smiles.

 

 

Pleasant Valley
Pleasant Valley, Family Farm back in Washington State.

Also, I added another problem called Pleasant Valley(V6ish) in a newer area, named for the family farm where I was raised.  This zone was discovered by Anthony Chertudi and should produce some amazing problems come next spring.  Excited for the future of Joes.

 

 

Enjoy the video of these First Ascents.  Hope to have more in the coming months as Joe’s melts and warms again.

Joe’s Valley: #Tall(V9) FA, Pleasant Valley(V6)FA, POWERMEAT!!!!! FA from Climbing Collective on Vimeo.

Barn Canyon

Barn Canyon is a side canyon just south of the Price Bouldering Area up Highway 6/SR 191.  Information can be found here: http://wikiboulder.com/guides/guide/Utah/Barn_Canyon 

Barn Canyon
Barn Canyon

From wikiboulder: “At the plant in the bottom of Price Canyon turn onto 191. After the railroad tracks take the first left. Follow this road back up the canyon, past a warehouse for lease, and into a canyon with an old barn. The road gets serious, but you can always walk. Boulders will appear next to the road until it climbs the back of the canyon” However, I would recommend parking at the old barn and walking the 25 minute approach.  The road is pretty bad in a few spots early on with limited terrain to turn around.  Also, be sure to obey the 5 mph speed limit through the plant’s property as you drive through.

 

 

Radiant Boulder: Barn Canyon
Radiant Boulder: Barn Canyon

 

This canyon holds two very good boulder problems that are well worth the hike.  The Radiant boulder sits roadside and has been undercut by water to create a short steep roof with hueco features.  In 2011 Nate Brun showed this area to Isaac Caldiero and Dave Graham after establishing many problems himself.

 

The Hurl of Great Price(V8), FA by Isaac Caldiero, climbs the right side of the roof.  Amazing boulder problem!

The Hurl of Great Price V8
The Hurl of Great Price V8
The Hurl of Great Price V8
The Hurl of Great Price V8

 

While visiting Isaac, Dave Graham put up the beautiful Radiant V12.  Radiant climbs perfect bone white sandstone that, in certain light, resembles granite.

Jeff Richards works Radiant V12
Jeff Richards works Radiant V12

A near perfect problem on near perfect rock, Radiant climbs the left side of the cave starting on big moves off jugs to technical climbing on slopers.  The crux of the problem being a throw to a blind sloper.  This is surely one of the best hard problems in Utah.

Setting up for the crux throw on Radiant
Setting up for the crux throw on Radiant

 

 

Enjoy the video below of The Hurl of Great Price and Griffin Whiteside climbing Radiant V12:

Barn Canyon: Radiant V12 & Great Hurl of Price V8 from Climbing Collective on Vimeo.

 

Joe’s Valley Update Fall 2012

Well, another Joe’s Valley season is nearly over. The fall weather has been a perfect steady flow of 50 and sunny. Writing the forecast for Orangeville, UT would be a pretty sweet gig this fall . . . wake up, make coffee, cut and paste forecast and then search celebrity gossip sites for new nip slips and upskirts. Good morning Lindsey, careful getting out of the car in that short skirt. Speaking of short, it’s a damn shame the days are ending so early now. . . c’mon the temps are so good . . . just give us 3 more hours a day to climb! I’ve been climbing a lot with two young guns (relatively speaking) and they are never done climbing once it gets dark, always wanting to try just one more problem. I admire it, but I’m old now and, you see, when it gets dark in the Fall/Winter it gets cold. It’s science. Although, ever since science started making up this global warming horseshit

Spartans Den @ Food Ranch
Spartans Den @ Food Ranch

I’ve had a hard time believing anything science has to say. . . take your “facts” somewhere else science.  I’ll believe in global warming, atoms and colored people when I see them for myself. Anyway, when it gets dark and cold I just want to retreat to the warmth of the Spartan’s Den at the Food Ranch. For those of you that aren’t aware (and i’m surprised by how many aren’t), upstairs in the Food Ranch is a dining area with booths, tables and free WiFi (nipslips!).

Before I forget, check out this Essential Guide to Joe’s Valley outlining all things essential to Joe’s beyond just the boulders. Written by Spenser Tang-Smith and Vikki Glinskii of the RV Project. Good people and an interesting and informational write up!

Anyway, hats off (well not mine, I need it contain the wild mane of beautiful hair underneath – think Patrick Swayze in Point Break. . . only much balder) to all those who have been working hard this season to establish new lines.  Be sure to check out the two videos we made showcasing most of the recommended new lines at the bottom of this post.

Handsome Griffin
I’m sorry that good-looking people like us made you throw up and feel bad about yourself.

Griffin Whiteside continues to impress not only with his good looks but with his high level of motivation. Seriously though, that’s a good looking kid. I recently posted a picture of Griffin (or G Biebs as we like to call him) climbing in Moe’s Valley and by the time the afternoon was over it had 50 likes. At first I thought the compliments were to me. I sat around gleaming.  Like after Like came through and I thought to myself Scott you are sure a great photographer.  .  .WRONG. . . turns out at least half the likes were from teenage girls.  You would of thought I posted the album cover to the new Justin Bieber cassette tape or something.

After an impressive summer in South Africa climbing more double-digit problems than I could ever wish to climb in my life, including an ascent of Sky (V14), he returned to Utah with the intent of establishing more of his own lines.

 

Guess Who's Arms are Bigger?
Guess Who’s Arms are Bigger? Answer: Not the Weaselly Looking Dude.

Then there is Joe Meiners, who continues to get stronger every year without actually having any muscle on his body. It’s weird, you’d think a mans arms would get larger and look, well, manly. . . I mean you’d at least think that his forearms would be larger than most female climbers. . . . you’d be mistaken my friend because almost ALL girls forearms are larger (i’m not joking, we have actually measured on 3 or 4 separate occasions.) It’s as if all the testosterone in his body is singularly focused on growing his fantastic mustache. (hey Joe I complimented you in a post. . . you’re welcome).  Apparently that beautiful mustache is all that’s needed to continue to crush and put up really cool new lines. Dang it, I feel like I just complimented him again. . . uh, shit, uh . . . you’re arms are small. . . alright, universe rebalanced.

Team Asana visited Joe’s for an extended weekend a month back. Luckily, I ran into them while on a solo mission and they were gracious enough to let me tag along. When flying solo in Joe’s its pretty sweet to run into a rad fun crew. Let alone a pad sponsored crew with loads of sweet ass pads.  I showed Asana team member Matt Fultz a few of the new lines and, as usual, he quickly sent.  Matt is one of the more impressive climbers I’ve had the pleasure to see climb. . . imagine watching a guy built like a linebacker crimp on the Blackout holds. . . it’s very impressive.  We’ve climbed together on many occasions and he even went to a movie in Salt Lake with the local crew.   It took him 40 minutes to realize the movie we were watching wasn’t a preview.  I laughed pretty hard when he confessed this as we left the theater.  Apparently, he thought we were going to see Batman and we ended up seeing Nitro Circus 3D instead. . . and it took him 40 minutes to figure this out!  Haha.  Sorry Matt, had to tell that story.  Anyway, after quickly sending a few of the new problems, I took him to the Barely Legal Direct project on the Death Scream Boulder.  As Matt started working the problem a snow storm began brewing.  We stuck it out and, just as a large crew was retreating from the Playmate boulder, he sent.  Matt named the problem Slam Dunk(V11).   You can find his snow storm FA in the first video below.

Left Fork:

Griffin Whiteside on his climb Superman V10. Photo: Matthew Irving
Griffin Whiteside on his climb Superman V10. Photo: Matthew Irving

Development in left fork has been centered around a 4 star line put up last year called Superman(V10).

Superman V10 Joe Meiners, Photo Garrett Grove
Superman V10 Joe Meiners, Photo Garrett Grove

This hillside, essentially the up-canyon extension to Halloween Town can be accessed at the Kayakers Pullout which is the same parking for Halloween town. This is the largest pullout in left fork and has a Porta Potty graciously supplied by the SLCA(salt lake climbers association) . . . go contribute or join the SLCA/ACCESS FUND here if you have ever pooped. After crossing the river (careful not to fall in Griffin), head up canyon a bit looking for a faint trail that crosses a small open grassy meadow.  After about 30 yards the trail will head up hill (look for cairn) and pass by a small boulder. Once past this boulder you will enter the Lost & Found area.

Scott on Balls to the Wall
Scott on Balls to the Wall

Most the lines on the two main boulders have been done. Lines worth noting are Balls to the Walls(V8) and Lost and Found(V12). Balls to the Walls (FA Griffin Whiteside) starts sitting at the base of the arete, fades left to the center of the wall and then up. Lost and Found is a sit start problem on the right side of the Lost & Found boulder that involves a very difficult deadpoint to a tiny slot crimp immediately followed by an explosive dyno to a sloper jug. The FA of this boulder was thought to have been done by visiting Canadian climber Josh Muller(Video) last spring but Benjamin Herrington later informed me that he had completed the climb a few weeks earlier after I had showed it to him. Continue past the Lost & Found boulder, generally traversing the hillside but heading somewhat uphill, in order to access either Superman or Cobra Kahn.

 

 

Right Fork:

This season, development in Right Fork started with an old project that Shannon Cornellier found maybe 3 years ago. I remember going up there with Tim Kimple, Matthew Irving and Shannon to build the landing and coming no where near close to sending. . . well, three years later and I’m happy to report I actually regressed on the problem. Cool. Griffin, however, repeatedly crushed the V10 to the lip of the boulder over and over.  This was mandatory in order to figure out the V10 lip encounter from the ground up (he did rap the route and clean a few holds – although he ended up using none of those holds). This problem (found in the video below) climbs an amazing bulge out pockets using incredible body tension. This is an impressive boulder to be seen in person. Spotters stand precariously on the edge of the man made landing built to manage the steep bank upon which the boulder sits. Many pads are needed as the climbing involved stretches up and then across the lip of the boulder and most falls come unexpectedly and without predictable vector. I began to worry that Griffin wasn’t going to send after he repeatedly fell from the lip encounter and began to experience some tendon pain from climbing the V10 pockets over and over. I seem to underestimate Griffin most the time. . . or maybe I’m just underestimating his youthful determination. . . or maybe it’s because I would have given up LONG before Griffin. G Biebs eventually sent after unlocking a ballsy lip traverse to an R rated mantle creating Salmon Scented Sausage Soother V11.

G Biebs climbing the FA of Salmon Scented.               Photo: Matthew Irving
G Biebs climbing the FA of Salmon Scented. Photo: Matthew Irving

Salmon Scented can be accessed by parking at the Team Effort area.  It is high up the opposite hillside.  The boulder is difficult to see in the pics below because the face is hidden behind some trees.  The tall slab top out can be seen if you look close.  Regardless, this should get you there with a bit of searching.

 

 

Smile Boulder Guide
Smile Boulder Guide

Joe Meiners found a new sector down canyon from Salmon Scented Sausage Soother dubbed the Smile area due to the large smile jug found (and visible from road) on the showcase boulder of the same name. This boulder is stacked. It is a bit atypical of Joe’s in form and actually has enough features to provide 3 different V10/11 problems! Keep in mind that all grades are subject to possible change and are up for you to decide after sending. We seem to believe that all 3 problems on this boulder are good, diverse and of varying difficulty depending on strengths and body size. However, we attach these grades with warning. You may crush one, two, three or none of these problems even though they are of similar grades.  Joe and I worked the FA’s of all three of these lines and have only sent BMOS so far.  Griffin has done all three.  What a dick.

Matt Fultz sends Boots with the Fur
Matt Fultz sends Boots with the Fur

On the far right of the boulder is Boots with the Fur(V10) and is probably the best line and certainly the most aesthetic. It is the powerful, dynamic line on the boulder: FA Griffin Whiteside.  Beat Me off Scottie (BMOS)(V10) is the center line, starts matched on an obvious jug and cruxes on a difficult far reach to a sloper high over the bulge. FA Joe Meiners. The left most line, Apple Bottom Jeans(V11), may be the hardest of the three but time and your opinions will tell. ABJ starts matched on the same jug as BMOS but trends up and left requiring a lot of lock off and body tension to eventually gain pockets around the left bulge. FA Grifffin Whiteside.

Scott Hall on Slot Machine
Scott Hall on Slot Machine

Below this boulder is the Slot Machine Boulder which currently presents two lines put up by Joe Meiners. Sitting on the right side of the main face and trending up and left offers a V5 challenge.

Sitting in the center of the face and climbing straight up is Slot Machine(V6/7). Joe impressively flashed the FA of this problem and called it V6 although I disagree and thought it was a difficult V7. Again, go climb it and tell us it’s difficulty. The rock on this face is incredible!

Scott Hall sends Fear Factor
Scott Hall sends Fear Factor

 

 

 

 

Also, while in this area if you haven’t checked out Fear Factor V8/9 yet be sure to as it is on the opposite side of the road and a couple minute walk from the parking.  You can see a video here.

 

 

Here is the Parking and Trail Info:

Joe Sends the Milkman Sit
Joe Sends the Milkman Sit
Milkman Sit Transition to Milkman
Milkman Sit Transition to Milkman

Up in Dairy Canyon we had been eyeballing the Milkman sit project(in the guidebook) for sometime and finally decided to work it. Within a session Joe, Griffin, and I had unlocked all the moves and Griffin had sent. . . only from one move in and not from the sit. Days later Joe snaked the FA of the sit start(V10 or V11 depending on who you ask) from Griffin by properly pulling his butt off the ground using opposing pockets and a heal hook. This problem is great.  Although there is a tree with dab potential, the body movement is some of the best in Joe’s Valley.

The Milkman Arete(V11)(FA Griffin Whiteside) was also put up and is the direct finish of the same start. There is a project on the face to the left of the arete.

Enjoy the videos, you’ll find most of these problems in there:

Joe’s Valley FA’s 2012 Pt 1: Slam Dunk V11, Salmon Scented. . . V11, Boots with the Fur V10, Milkman Sit V10/11 from Climbing Collective on Vimeo.

 

Joe’s Valley FA’s 2012 Pt 2: BMOS V10, Apple Bottom Jeans V11, Balls to the Wall V8 from Climbing Collective on Vimeo.

 

 

 

under the knife


I am sitting in a lawn chair in the backyard, reading accounts of the first ascents of the big mountains in the Sierra Nevada in the late 19th century – real men, real adventures. I am also drinking coffee and eating lemon meringue pie left over from Easter (likely the highlight of my day). I have to eat with my left hand, because my right arm is immobilized in a sling strapped to my body.  I am looking at cherry blossoms and tulips that have recently pushed up through the ground, watching the newest additions to the backyard (four adolescent chickens) tear and scratch their way through them.

my peeps

I have never had any reservations when it comes to buying eggs; the ultra-cheap ultra large ones have always suited me fine. But after seeing how anxious our chickens are to get out of the coop each morning to roam the backyard at will, I rethink where the previously mentioned eggs hailed from. I can imagine gigantic brightly lit warehouses with stacks and stacks of tight, chicken containing compartments, stretching out for hundreds of yards. The modern egg factory. It is now apparent to me that chickens very much prefer some sunlight and freedom, and the quality of their eggs had better reflect that observation – or they’re going to find their way into a pot (maybe).

In addition to the entertainment provided by the chickens, I am also contemplating the strange feeling of not really having anything that I “have to do.” It has been a long time since I’ve had the experience, probably since summer vacation from school really was a summer vacation. I don’t like it. I don’t have to think very far back to day after day packed with school and nightly restaurant work. Sitting here I think I would prefer that schedule to my current one, but I know that I would tell myself the exact opposite six months ago.

An unexpected domino effect of occurrences, new experiences, and flash epiphanies has put me here in the backyard. A month ago I would have had no idea I would be here today. The first of these has to be the nasty little top-rope accident (previously chronicled) I had last august, that resulted in bruises and a dislocated right shoulder. The dislocation made an old shoulder injury acutely worse than before. Ever since I have been in a strange six-week cycle of training and climbing that culminates in starting to feel strong, then having another dislocation. These painful occurrences restart the cycle, and I have to continually convince myself that maybe it will get better and that surgery is not the best option. I would guess I have had five or six dislocations since the event in august.

Almost as frustrating as not being able to go climbing, is not being able to feel like you can try hard for fear of injury. I have realized that one of the fundamental characteristics of climbing that makes it so satisfying, is the possibility it provides for fully exerting yourself and discovering where your boundaries lie. I am once again reminded (and need to be reminded often) that any day I find the time and have the health to go out and try hard – is a good day. Sending or not sending is not fair criteria for deciding if the day was good or not. I am also reminded that bodies are soft and fragile, and that rocks are hard. When it comes to our bodies we are promised nothing, so strike the iron while it’s hot.

The second event was a very new experience for me; I quit my job. By quit I don’t mean putting in your two weeks because you have something else lined up and your quietly making your exit, but suddenly deciding enough is enough and marching out of the establishment. This is the type of thing most people with hated jobs fantasize about (I did), and rarely actually do (I guess now I have done this too). It is not an ideal way to leave a job but sometimes I think you have to do something drastic to force a change (I will keep telling myself that). I’ll spare the details, but I went to work one day and realized I couldn’t stand being in the service industry anymore, nor did I need to be, and that was it.

The third event follows directly from the second. After finding myself without a work schedule to adhere to, I made the obvious choice; go climbing. A few days later I was roaring down the freeway in a vicious headwind that relentlessly attacked my gas gage and wallet. Regardless of the cost, I had sun, good friends, and Saint George limestone waiting for me. I got two good days and a half of the third. On the third day, the second route of the day cost me another dislocation. After I lowered back to the ground I had already made up my mind that surgery was the only option. I’m not sure why it took me so long to have that realization, but at least it happened. The Monday after I got back I made the call and was scheduled to go under the knife. I figured I might as well be broke in both possible ways at the same time and just get the pity party over with.

This was the first, and hopefully the only time I will have the experience of surgery. The shoulder joint is the most shallow on the body; this allows for a large range of motion but also makes it the most prone to injury. On the lip of the socket is a ring of cartilage called the labrum, which serves to make the socket slightly deeper. I had a tear in the anterior side of the labrum, as well as a large bucket handle style tear on the opposite side that was floating around in the socket. Of course, when the doctor got in there the damage was worse than expected. If I would have suffered only one or two more dislocations, I probably would have needed bone reconstruction and open surgery. Luckily they were able to fix it with just a scope, three small holes in the front of the shoulder and one in the back. The surgery involves trimming up all the torn cartilage, placing anchors in the socket, and reattaching the labrum to the socket via cable that looks like miniature braided climbing rope.

just after I woke up

It hurt a good deal more than expected. Even worse than the pain were the pain- killers. I was in a nauseated zombie-like state for almost a week after. Thanks be to my mom and girlfriend for waiting on me hand and foot. Now a week after that the painkillers are gone and I feel like a normal human being, except I only have one arm so I’m not exactly good for much. I am supposed to stay in the sling for a month before I can start physical therapy and I hope to start easy climbing at two months. With any luck I’ll be as strong as ever come fall.

For now I’ll sit in the sun in the backyard while my bank account dwindles, scouring craigs list for jobs I can possibly do that require zero labor. This must be what it feels like to be old and retired –even if you have anything to do, you feel too broken to do it. I’ll sit and watch climbing porn with sweaty palms, and be envious of Scott Hall and crew because I know I should be there with them. It seems like I can’t remember what it feels like to be able to try as hard as I want to. I crave that feeling more than that damned fattening lemon meringue pie. But my sense and hope tells me that the day is not so far off the horizon. The hard reality is that our bodies are not nearly as suited for hard climbing as we would like them to be. With great hubris we falsely believe that there will always be a tomorrow, another day to try the project, another time for the classic problem a little further down the trail. Treat every day out like the gift it actually is. That single truth should be enough to fuel the psyche for a lifetime.

8 Dudes in the South

I recently returned from a bouldering trip to the south to sample the finest stone this side of the Mississippi . . . shit, I mean that side of the Mississippi . . . I’m not used to that saying being geographically inaccurate. Well whatever, regardless of the location of the Mighty Mississippi the southern sandstone was the best I have ever touched.

About 4 months ago we started planning a dude trip to Chattanooga, the type where you bring along those friends that make you laugh and don’t take themselves too seriously . . . b/c, after all, most of your time in the south is going to be spent sliding off slopers and looking like a damned fool anyway. We needed people who were just as concerned with practical jokes as climbing. We kept each other’s egos in check and spent most of our time on our toes worried that someone was going to poop or dump water/milk/bbq sauce in our chalk bag, smack/punch our food out of our hands or pull us off the boulder on our send go.

From Salt Lake City came Chad Parkinson (a real heavy weight in the climbing world . . . zing!), Marcus Cline (a vegetarian who we warned would end up with meat in his mouth at some point on this trip . . . spoiler alert: he did, albeit on accident, that poor guy all we ate on this trip was BBQ), and Jeff Richards (a silent crusher that I used to call “Mitts” before I knew his real name . . . spoiler alert: it’s Jeff) and myself (an old balding guy who looks like he has a lip full of Copenhagen at all times). I called my oldest climbing friend from college and one of the best dudes on this planet . . . at math, squinting and Tokyo drifting: Art Lim (he and I went to college together and began climbing at the same time, spoiler alert: he’s Asian).

Jake's Thumb. . . I'm so scared for Art's thumb!
Jake’s Thumb. . . I’m so scared for Art’s thumb!

From California came Jake Nelson (he has the biggest thumbs I’ve ever seen, I mean huge, like freaky huge, no you don’t get it like he’s a circus freak and it grosses me out, I can’t eat around those monstrous things, in fact I just threw up a little in my mouth thinking about them). Also along from California were Ryan Rougeux and Ryan Moon. The whole trip Rougeux had Prolonged Erection Disorder and sought medical consultation while in the south . . . at least this is what any of Rougeux’s friends thought as they saw daily status updates on Facebook the entire week we were gone. Of course these updates were compliments of Mr. Ryan Moon (a funny 16 year old kid who I guess happens to be like 27 or something).

Rental Cabin
Rental Cabin – Sandra Bullock Movie on TV

The whole crew flew out on February 29th and arrived at different times throughout the day in Nashville, TN. We spent our time waiting for all to arrive by driving around and sampling some BBQ. The absolute, hands down, best place we found was called Pappa Turney’s. Papa Turney’s is a hole in the wall establishment owned and operated by a blues player of the same name. Genuinely humbled by our visit, he welcomed us with classic southern hospitality, a plate of free Cajun injected smoked Bologna (a delicious cheap alternative he invented), and even informed us he knew of the famous Alex Honnold.

Soccer Moms
Soccer Moms

With two rental vans we made our way to Chattanooga to rent bouldering pads from the Crashpad Hostel for the week. After a day sampling LRC/Stonefort/Whatever we drove the 45 minutes south to a cabin (complete with hot tub and stockpile of romantic comedies) that we rented in the Alabama hills. Initially, we planned of climbing everyday . . . but our skin would say otherwise and by skin I mean our old muscles that need a full days rest to recover now that we are all old. So, we climbed every other day for a week alternating between HP40, LRC and a quick stop at fantastic little zone called Zahnd.

Zahnd Bouldering
Zahnd Bouldering

Zahnd is the first area I’ve ever gone too without any prior knowledge of problems or a guidebook. While on our way to HP40 one day a buddy, Isaac Caldiero, texted me and told me we had to stop by some place called Zahnd. . . thank you Isaac because we had an amazing time climbing anything that looked climbable. There wasn’t even chalk on any holds and we ran around like kids giggling and hollering that you just “had to try this one, it’s so good.” The rock was some of my favorite in the south and having the area to ourselves was amazing. Problems not to be missed at Zahnd include Harvest Moon, Razor’s Edge, Bear Hug, Chisel Chest and Solar Flare. It was interesting to look these problems up AFTER climbing them and see where they started compared to where we thought they would start and to see what grades they were given compared to how they felt without the influence of knowing the grades . . . btw, starts and grades were pretty spot on . . . just thought it was an interesting aspect to find this info out later instead of prior.

Jake "Thumbs" Nelson on Trick or Treat at HP40
Jake “Thumbs” Nelson on Trick or Treat at HP40
Hot Dude Stew
Hot Dude Stew

Time spent at the cabin was filled too the brim with excitement, much like the hot tub water when we would sit 8 dudes deep in it. Our nights were kept busy, after a long soak in the hot tub we would gather around and watch 2 or 3 romantic comedies (supplied for us by the cabin. . . tip of the hat to you cabin owners) usually of the Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock variety. There is just something so very heart warming watching it all work out for America’s sweethearts while in the company of 7 good male companions. We cried, laughed, and at times related to J Robs and Sandy. . . how could we not.

Marcus on Skywalker
Marcus on Skywalker

The overall climbing experience was amazing and I can’t wait to return. Instead of talking too much about it simply enjoy the video from HP40 and Zahnd and then sit back and watch Part 2 from LRC edited by Art Lim. FYI: you can’t see it but at the beginning of the video Chad Parkinson pours a half gallon of water into Jake’s chalk bag. HAHAHA. Stupid Jake.

New Season, New Problems.

Well Joe’s season has started and I couldn’t be happier. It’s grade school recess and we are playing on our schoolyard playground. Running around like idiots, laughing, inventing games, making fun of each other, performing feats of strength and balance, throwing snowballs, eating giant pizzas, putting cow pies in each others chalk bags and yet somehow still focusing on projects and first ascents.

Cow Pie in the ol' Chalk Bag, Classic
Cow Pie in the ol' Chalk Bag, Classic

I work 12-hour graveyard shifts a lot from 9pm to 9am at a satellite communications company monitoring network traffic and performing diagnostics work. I should sleep when I get off work at 9am but I don’t even consider it an option when friends are day tripping to Joe’s Valley. And so, I catch a ride down and try to sleep in the car for 2.5 hours there and the 2.5 hours back before I go straight back to work for another 12 hours. I go directly from work to Joe’s Valley and back to work, sometimes not stepping foot in my home for 3 or 4 days . . . yo-yoing between work and climbing. This takes a toll on me around day 3 or 4 and most boulder problems begin to feel about 2 grades harder than they should. I love it.

Climbing the Skull V11
Climbing the Skull V11

The season has started off very well for not only myself but for most of my friends as well. The sit start to The Gentlemen’s Project was a nemesis last fall as I never felt close to finishing it and could never quite understand why as I let the frustration build . . . well, after completing it on my first trip back down to Joe’s I realized the answer is most often simplistic . . . I wasn’t strong enough. Seems obvious now. As great as it feels to polish off an old nemesis it felt even better to complete a longstanding project.

Griffin Whiteside Dynos on Fear Factor
Griffin Whiteside Dynos on Fear Factor

After taking a large crew up to Fear Factor V8 (if you haven’t been on this go do it, picture above), Jeff Richards, Joe Meiners, Griffin Whiteside (or G Biebs if you will), and I went up to the cabin area to work the project that climbs out the roof on the backside of the Death Scream boulder. Joe and I had tried it a few times and finally made some progress at the end of last season, collectively doing every move. Sometimes a good crew is all you need to finally establish a new problem. After remembering how we had done the moves, Griffin found some new beta that worked better for him and Joe, opting out of a technical hard-to-place heel hook needed for the last move and instead using their youth and power to basically campus the huge span. Stupid kids. This did not work for me. Shortly after this the 18-year-old Griffin had established Barely Legal V11 (see the video below!). Next go Joe snagged the second. Then it was my turn . . . but by this time too much snow had melted and streaked down onto the dimple that I used for the heel hook. I tried anyway, placed the heel but couldn’t quite get the purchase needed to pull all the way to the lip and fell. So, I rode back to SLC and was dropped off at work, worked a 12-hour night shift and returned the next day for the send. I was painfully tired as I drove straight back to work that night but sometimes that type of dedication makes a completing a climb feel deserved and much more satisfying.

Joe Meiners, 2nd Ascent of Barely Legal V11
Joe Meiners, 2nd Ascent of Barely Legal V11

More first ascents have been made and more should be completed as the season progresses. Just as last season, I will try and post directions and info regarding these problems to the best of my abilities. . .

Well, enjoy the video. You’ll probably watch it and think we are idiots, which makes you smart because we are.